On the train I looked at some paperwork and added to my list for working on tomorrow. I had my red leather jacket on and my red 'brief case', both of which were presents from Clive. I am proud to wear and use both.
I had lunch with a vibrant researcher from Manchester University who is looking for new Mums in the Manchester area with regards to a parenting programme. More details will follow. As we walked to our next venue she said she was a bit apprehensive being introduced to other people because she is 'just' an assistant researcher! I gave her a 'Clive' pep talk!! On page 73 of his book 'How to take life by the throat and say I'm not done yet', he writes about speaking to yourself with respect and upgrading your 'self-talk' and how you portray yourself to others. He used to pick me up if I ever rang him and said 'It's only me' - his sharp reply was that there was no 'only' about me! He'd say the same to others. Why are we so keen to put ourselves down?
We went into an afternoon held by NHS NW to launch the document 'Improving Outcomes and Ensuring Quality - a guide for commissioners and providers of perinatal and infant mental health services'. I will say more about this in a 'stand alone' blog for the purpose of information sharing. From a personal perspective it was good to be amongst some of the passionate people in the NW who I have had the pleasure of working alongside for many years now. They remain as passionate as me in a culture of cuts, uncertainty and job insecurity. I received a great deal support and shock from those who did not know my personal news but all were amazed to see me there. Again mine and Clive's value of integrity came into force - I had said I would be there and I was glad I was.
I had another impromptu coffee after the meeting and buzzed in my efficient and passionate role as postnatal mental health champion! Back on the train amid the blank-faced commuters and foul mouthed teenage shoppers a wave of tiredness came over me. I really did not sleep well last night. I just kept waking up simply missing Clive. As the train trundled its way west I checked my Blackberry for messages. Wallop! The tidal wave of grief engulfed me and I fought the tears back so hard. I suddenly realised that Clive is no longer around to text or email and tell him how my day has gone. No messages from him to say how golf had gone - it is Tuesday and he would now have been back on the course after his knee operation on 14th February. He would have been sooo excited! I felt myself falling into that deep, black pit and wanted to howl. On the 17:53 from Manchester to Runcorn East it's not a good move. Instead I sent a couple of texts to friends. I distracted myself with Suduko on my phone. But every attempt I made was like swimming against the tide.
For almost three years Clive and I had been in constant contact. If we weren't physically together we would be in touch in some way. No more. All stopped. All gone. I was supposed to be driving home later - what's the point? He isn't there.
In the safety of my car the tears flowed. I put the radio on.
Oh no! That was all I needed. I simply could not face driving back. I filled up with petrol.
More forecourt tears as my new 'Ms Hanzak-Gott' was declined for some unknown reason!
I went got back to the loving arms of my Mum. I so wanted to return with the same positivity I had left earlier.
It must be so hard for her and Dad. They so want to take my pain away but no-one can. On the news was the court case over a 16 year old girl killed in by a random 'gang land' shooting. Seeing her distraught mother made me think Clive had been 'lucky' to have got to 52. His life wasn't taken callously. I have no-one to blame for Clive's death.
I ate my meal and slowly began to feel better. I had hoped to see Dom tonight but he was filming again. Bit by bit I rationalised my earlier upset - tired, hungry, disappointment on top of grief. Then the weather forecast changed my plan! It looks like a washout tomorrow and the M62 is awful, so I decided I would go home tonight.
Before I left I had almost an hours chat with one of our speaker friends about what I am doing and my plans. I was laying on the spare room bed as we spoke looking at this picture.
There are so many pictures of us like this. He really did like this protective pose! As Paul and I spoke he said he felt 'a sense of Clive - like he is pleased we are talking'. I felt it too.
I nipped to see Dom and he had arms out-stretched to me immediately and a beaming smile.
To complete my upbeat mood instead of soppy music I listened to the first CD from Stephen Edwards ' Face the Fear and feel the Power'.
I drove home feeling quite content and motivated ready to face my list tomorrow!
So what have I learnt today?
- NHS as regards postnatal illness
- That Clive's lessons are part of me now
- To be kind to myself and recognise that 'normally' I am not at my best if hungry, tired and disappointed so to try to avoid those circumstances!
- To reach out to others when I am getting low and despondent
- To remember that I am surrounded by so much love and support that will carry me through this
I arrived home to Michelle's thoughtful touches and a beautiful card from a friend. Thank you both of you xx
I am happy to be here.
N.B. Clive's products can be ordered via here.